Category: Quality Standards
In the past, consumers chose their dry cleaner on the basis of convenience, price and some vague verbal reassurances from the manager or customer service representative that the cleaner was, indeed, a “quality dry cleaner.”
In this age of hyperbolic claims, there has to be a better way. And there is.
In this post, I suggest that a far better approach is to
(1) review a checklist of specific, written practices — practices that, when viewed as a cohesive whole, constitutes true quality cleaning,
(2) compare those specific, written practices to the practices of any other dry cleaner you’re considering, and
(3) hold the dry cleaner accountable for meeting your expectations based on those specific, written practices.
Every dry cleaner swears that they really care about your fine garments and household textiles.
But do they really care?
Out of 26,000 dry cleaners in the USA, how many really care about your fine garments, household textiles and accessories? I’d bet fewer than 25.
In this post, I’ll explain why the work delivered by value (discount), ordinary (middle market) and most wannabe (illusion) dry cleaners is incompatible with caring.
Ordinary cleaners have a unique approach to setting prices. They start by analyzing the prices charged by other cleaners in a 5 to 10 mile radius prices. Then they ignore those comparative prices and set the final price by sucking it out of thin air, modifying it to end in a 1, 3, 7 or 9 and confirming it by gut instinct.
Their prices are, in effect, the highest prices they think they can charge relative to the competition and relative to the “quality” of the product they deliver.
Then they spend months agonizing whether their prices are set at the appropriate level.
In this post, I hypothesize that the primary reason customers patronize ordinary dry cleaners is because of price, not quality of product. I also argue that customers who focus solely on price are customers that are not worth pursuing under any circumstances.
On the other hand, if ordinary dry cleaners dramatically improved the quality of the product they offered, their clients would drool over the quality of their work and they wouldn’t have to spend years agonizing whether their prices are set at the appropriate level.
Almost every new entrant into the dry cleaning industry talks about delivering “quality” to their customers.
These new entrants believe that the “right” location, the “right” equipment, the “right” eco-friendly dry cleaning solvent, the “right” computer system, the “right” app and the “right” amount of effort will miraculously produce “quality” and, as a consequence, financial success.
They soon realize, however, that the overwhelming majority of their customers just want their garments “cleaned and pressed” for the lowest possible price and in the fastest time — two major impediments to delivering true quality cleaning.
In this post, I discuss why building a sustainable business that delivers true quality cleaning is so difficult to achieve and why these new entrants into the dry cleaning industry quickly shift their goal from “quality of product” to “growth in piece count” as a way to generate the cash necessary to keep the doors open.
You’ve invested in your fine garments.
Amongst other things, you believe that your buttons, logos, zipper pulls, buckles and the like are integral to the look of your garments.
In this blog post, I examine the need for your dry cleaner to protect your buttons and other hardware — even if that means removing your buttons and other hardware prior to cleaning and replacing your buttons and other hardware after cleaning.
Yes, I do understand that your dry cleaner told you that they “protect” your buttons and other hardware.
But do they?
If that were the case, why are some of the buttons and other hardware (logos, zipper pulls, buckles, etc.) on your fine garments scratched, chipped, cracked or otherwise damaged?
And, if that’s the case, why do you permit your dry cleaner to get away with damaging the buttons and other hardware on your fine garments?
In June 2017, dry cleaners from all around the USA, Canada and beyond will descend on the Las Vegas for the Clean Show, a biennial trade exposition showcasing the latest in equipment, technologies and services.
They’ll all be searching for the holy grail: how to push more and more pieces of fabric (aka your fine garments and household textiles) faster and faster through their production facility using a mix of low skilled labor and highly automated equipment.
The problem for all these dry cleaners is that they’ll continue to face that same recurring dilemma — year in, year out — no matter how many Clean Shows they attend and no matter how many labor saving machines they buy.
In this post, I posit that success in the dry cleaning business isn’t a function of the number of trade shows they attend or the number of labor saving machines they install.
The answer is to say no to being average. That the answer is to stand for something instead of standing for nothing.
Imagine that there are only two dry cleaners in a particular city.
Further, imagine that they’re situated next door to one another.
One has a sign which that says True Quality Cleaners; the other sign says Ordinary Cleaners.
Let’s say that you mostly shop at high-end boutiques and department stores, that you have a relatively significant investment in your fine garments and that you have the financial resources to pay for the very best in on-going maintenance of that wardrobe.
Which of these two cleaners would you choose?
The purpose of this post is to help you make an informed decision by highlighting the differences between extraordinary (true quality) dry cleaners and ordinary (middle market) dry cleaners and the operating philosophies underlying those differences.